“Zotz Irene?”

Devastating economic impact from Irene? Bullshit.

WalMarts sell out. Supermarkets sell out. Bodegas sell out. Liquor stores get New Year’s business. Consumption of paid video, plywood, duct tape, flashlights, batteries, sardines, bottled water, crackers and generators, etc? Friggin astronomical.

Lotta bluffin; not much puffin.

We don’t manufacture shit anymore on the Eastern Seabord except hype. We’re a service economy. Period.

Lost business? Bullshit. Most “mission critical” corporate drones have worked remotely, as appropriate, for years–Especially in hypercapitalist, Blackberry-heavy New York state.

No lost orders. Financial markets opened for business Monday. Most folks just worked from home, as they usually do in similar weather circumstance. And legions of cops, firefighters and EMS folks got major overtime pay for cruising empty streets in the surprisingly gentle but persistent rain Sunday. Ka-ching.

Any established business worth its hype has videoconference capability, or their technically capable folks use Skype. No need for air travel except for introductory face-to-face meetings at senior old fart levels, which are inevitably just postponed–not canceled.

Our Dear Wise Father, Bloomberg, advised that NYC public sector folks will be charged a vacation day if they didn’t come into work on Monday. And this edict delivered with extremely fucking dodgy transit service. He basically asked people to walk from the outer boroughs. Kim Jong Il got nothin’ on DWF Bloomy.

North Korean cabinet members have paintings of themselves as centaurs hanging in the secret Kimchi Klubhouse.

Sure, lots of homes got damaged. But lines at Home Depot will be longer than the Trans-Siberian Railway next weekend. As Gawker advises, just make sure you get there before the lesbians grab all the 2x4s.

Those veins are a junky's dream.

"Line forms at the rear, pallly."

Financial news folks repeatedly wailed about the devastating economic impact for retailers of “losing” the traditional last shopping weekend for parents whose children will be starting school.

Bullshit. Folks will just buy the school gear later this week; the bucks just may not hit the books for August financial close. A lot of parents and kids buy online, well in advance.

The damage to infrastructure was expected, but a 100-year flood is just what state DOTs needed to light a fire under their asses to fix what were already known to be substandard roads and bridges, and perhaps seek innovative financing measures (e.g., appropriately tweaked public-private partnership “PPP” concessions) to finally do now what can no longer be postponed. There is no public funding left to repair and create the long-neglected infrastructure essential to the US economy.

Spain has nice bridges. Trains and roads too.


We need to use the European/Australian/Canadian PPP model to do infrastructure. It works! The US can actually can actually learn from other countries.

The loss of life was unfortunate, but with few and ironic exceptions, most people who died likely got Darwined.

Irene was a nice kick in the ass for the East Coast economy, encouraging vital spending when the government has been proscribed (by obdurate and self-serving populist dullards)  from pulling additional tools from the essential Keynesian economic stimulus trick bag during a serious recession.

The hurricane season is young. Let’s hope for similar overhyped East Coast meteorological bullshit.

Dave “Soup” Campbell dead at 50 in NYC

I’d known him for the past 30 years, since college days at the godforsaken but well respected university in Hyde Park, South Chicago where fun, reportedly, still goes to die. I knew him as a classmate, a roommate, a friend, and above all, a superb musician who played with transforming joy and otherworldly passion and precision for many lucky bands.

I miss the hell out of him and always will. Fucking drummer. So many amazing moments.

Under the Volcano

Eyjafjallajökull

Eyjafjallajökull

The past weeks have been a stark reminder of the unimaginable power and majesty of Earth’s natural forces, as an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano blasted forth millions of tons of politically, economically and ecologically incorrect ash and gas into the stratosphere, paralyzing air travel to and from much of northern Europe for weeks.  Over 100,000 flight cancellations left untold thousands of travelers stranded globally.

Some of my fave reporting:

  • The Boston Globe compiled 35 compelling photographs that are among the best on the web. Gotta love the shaggy Icelandic ponies sparring fiercely, with a volcano spewing ash in the background.
  • The high-functioning autistics at Slashdot sparked a fascinating discussion on just how dangerous flying in the recent ash cloud actually was. Untrounceable ginger bastard Virgin CEO Richard Branson demanded compensation, claiming the British government overreacted in its blanket grounding of flights, but the links to Boeing documentation reveal his chutzpah is almost certainly ill-advised. Branson a risk-taker? Isn’t that the definition of an entrepreneur?  Good on him anyways for the cool space tourism partnership with Burt Rutan. Risky much?
  • The Economist put forth a rawther good article on volcano risk management lessons learned.  Major props to UPS for nimbly diverting packages to Istanbul and trucking it West.

Vulcan likely ain’t done yet. Eyjafjallajökull’s more sensibly named, but larger and more dangerous sister volcano, Katla, has historically shown a mean streak.

Imagine the earth blanketed in gray dust as a new ice age begins, with fleets of droning Zeppelins scudding sonorously through dim summer skies, bearing Goldman Sachs executives to better lands …